The Regina Housing First program will be expanding, as Carmichael Outreach is being brought on to run a second housing first team. Phoenix HOMES is the original team, and they will also be expanding the existing program.
Regina’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) director Blair Roberts said this expansion comes from necessity.
“Every organization will have their own flavor and way of doing things, but I know Carmichael is really basing their on what Phoenix has done, because Phoenix has been so successful with what they’ve done,” Roberts explained.
Total HPS federal funding is pegged at $1.78 million. Of this, $1.2 million will be directed to housing first initiatives.
The housing first model involves providing homes for chronically homeless people, and building them up to living independently. This involves placing them in apartments run by partner landlords and getting people the help they need through mental health care, counselling, addictions support and other care to address reasons why the individual was homeless.
At this point, evidence supporting the success of housing first in Regina is anecdotal. However, the first anniversary of the program is approaching and this will include a report on hard data relating to the program. Roberts anticipate this report will be released in late June.
Phoenix HOMES runs 24 housing first homes, and six people have graduated from the program.
Roberts said there are currently around 90 people on the waiting list. The HPS stresses quality over quantity in finding placements for clients.
“We’d rather that then double their case load and have people falling through the cracks,” Roberts said.
“The whole goal is to make sure people are successful.”
The Circle Project will be playing an increased roll in the HPS going forward. They will provide cultural support to Indigenous housing first clients. The 2015 point-in-time homeless count identified 75 per cent of Regina’s homeless population is Indigenous.
“They’ll be able to meet these clients where they are and offer holistic supports, instead of the one size fits all approach,” Roberts said.
Other HPS organizations include Street Culture Project, YWCA of Regina, Street Workers Advocacy Project and the North Central Family Centre.